Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lakers: 8-0 Perfection

The Lakers are winning basketball games. That's all you really need to know.

Win vs. Rockets by 2
Win @ Suns by 8
Win vs. Warriors by 24
Win vs. Grizzlies by 19
Win @ Kings by 12
Win vs. Raptors by 5
Win vs. Blazers by 25
Win vs. Timberwolves by 5

So half their wins were by double-digits and three of them were last-minute competitions. What's good about that is the fact that every significant contributor on the roster besides Bynum is healthy and we've been able to see the situational line-ups for the squad.

For the last 6 minutes against the Rockets: Blake/Brown/Bryant/Odom/Gasol.
For the last 6 minutes against the Raptors: Fisher/Brown/Bryant/Odom/Gasol.
For the last 6 minutes against the Wolves: Fisher/Bryant/Artest/Odom/Gasol.

I think it's pretty much all mind games for PJ at this point. He knows he can't hurt Derek Fisher's psyche, so he gave Blake the ultimate confidence boost by putting him in a position to make a big play at the end of his very first Laker game ... which he perfectly did by sealing the game with a three off a Kobe kick-out. And then Phil knows he has complete mental dominance over Ron-Ron, so he's not afraid to play the hot hand and stroke Shannon Brown's ego when he's having a productive night. Not many people thought Brown would be logging heavy minutes with the Blake and Barnes additions, but he's proven to be far too valuable to ride the pine in the early going.

And it's only up from here. When Bynum gets in game shape, the NBA collectively goes on big-man-potential watch. He's strickly a role whenever he's hobbled by a knee injury, but he's still got the skill set, size, and intelligence to be an All-Star center. I still believe it, at least. Regardless, he'll instantly bring the team defense up a significant notch with his interior rotations and intimidating shot-blocking presence. Pau and him haven't seen many days where their offensive games clicked perfectly on the same night, but as long as the two of them add up to around 1.5, the Lakers are sitting pretty. Lamar seems more focused than at any point in his entire career, so a soft 6th man demotion should do none to deter his stellar production so far this year. It's crazy how those World Championship games seemed to prime him perfectly in a strange pre-training camp way to get him in amazing shape with a clear mind. His minutes won't even see a real drop with Bynum back since Ratliff/Caracter's collective floor time and a little bit of Matt Barnes' clock will make up the difference.

I got a great feeling about this team. Screw all the pre-season commentators trying to make Kobe's knee and age the non-LeBron headline as a reason why the Lakers weren't going to be able to three-peat. Maybe the stats simply don't compute as pretty for the squad with a top-two shooting guard of all-time, the best post player in the world, the most versatile 6'10" big ever seen, three of the grittiest perimeter defenders in NBA today, and a flurry of outside threats and veteran leaders that are collectively headed by the greatest coach in any professional sport ... ever. Maybe. But who cares? Does the computer get sad when it gets its calcumatated numbers wrong (just go with me on that one word)? The answer to that question is "no." Unless they wire those kinds of computers to have emotions now. Which is entirely possible with John Hollinger and Kevin Arnovitz' conniving asses. I don't even know. But even if that reference is rendered completely superfluous, the Lakers are a band of killers. No Brandon Flowers. Get ready for #17.

Team Highlights:
Scoring - 1st in the league at 112.1 points per game
Rebounding - 4th in the league at 46.1 rebounds per game
Assists - 4th in the league at 24 assists per game
Points Allowed - 11th in the league at 99.6 points given up per game

Individual highlights:
Kobe Bryant
Averages: 24.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1 steal
Best Game: 30/10/12 triple-double with 3 threes against Sacramento
Pau Gasol
Averages: 23.4 points on 55.1% shooting, 10.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 blocks
Best Game: 20/14/10 triple-double on 9-13 shooting with 3 steals against Portland
Lamar Odom
Averages: 15.8 points on 62.1% shooting, 10.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.3 3PM on 66.7% shooting
Best Game: 18/17/5 double-double on 8-12 shooting with a steal against Phoenix
Ron Artest
Averages: 10.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Best Game: 17/1/4 on 7-11 shooting with 3 threes and 2 steals against Sacramento
Derek Fisher
Averages: 8.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.38 steals, 1.0 3PM on 57.1% shooting
Best Game: 14/1/3 on 5-6 shooting with a three against Golden State
Steve Blake
Averages: 6.9 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.8 3PM on 50% shooting
Best Game: 14/1/2 on 4-6 three-point shooting against Toronto
Matt Barnes
Averages: 9.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Best Game: 16/14/2 double-double with a block and steal against Memphis
Shannon Brown
Averages: 9 points, 1.6 rebounds, .9 assists, 1.13 steals, 1.5 3PM on 50% shooting
Best Game: 16/1/1 on 6-9 shooting with 4 threes and 4 steals against Houston

... and Free Enes.

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